Heightened consumer demand and competition for technological superiority places a premium value on computer performance and reliability. The rapid evolution of onboard capability, features, interconnections and packaging technologies can skyrocket the cost of qualification with traditional approaches. Qualmark’s COE not only offers highly effective solutions for increasing product reliability that shortens design, development and qualification cycles, but also for determining design or process faults that can turn up in the marketplace as warranty issues.
SUCCESS PROFILE: Laptop Computer
One of the world’s premier laptop computer manufacturers was suddenly experiencing spikes in warranty. While replacement/warranty costs are always motivation for determining a quick resolution, in this case, the product issue was causing significant customer dissatisfaction which was negatively influencing customer perception of overall brand. If left unresolved, other high-profile product lines could soon be affected.
Tests on the returned laptops had been performed, but reliability engineers were unable to replicate the issues. Warranty claims were rising. A No Fault Found (NFF) result was not going to be acceptable. The engineers sought outside assistance from Qualmark COE.
Qualmark COE experts learned that the company’s engineer instrumental in implementing HALT had been moved to a different division and the test technician was left without guidance on how to perform effective HALT. When executing HALT, the laptop was left encased in its protective shell which, of course, was designed to minimize laptop exposure to environmental stresses, and the laptop was left powered "on" throughout the test without any input power manipulation.
Sample laptops were shipped to Qualmark COE in Denver, where our experienced application engineers designed a more effective and aggressive test with broader functional test coverage:
- Developed custom fixturing to secure individual sub-assemblies which ensured stress transmissibility
- Devised functional test of Bluetooth/wireless performance
- Implemented power cycling of the laptop while under test
- Enabled monitoring of the integrity of the display while driving circuitry at extended operating limits
RESULTS: In less than 4 days of testing, Qualmark’s COE was able to replicate the two issues creating the increase in warranty claims. Failure analysis led to appropriate corrective action and the two issues were completely resolved. Interestingly, Qualmark’s COE testing also revealed another issue in the laptop by identifying a failure mode that was just starting to be tracked from the marketplace.
Quick results and effective corrective action provided resolution to the two known issues and proactive corrective action on the third issue prevented further drain on warranty. Qualmark’s COE provided solutions that not only enabled swift containment for a potentially costly warranty excursion, but helped preserve the brand’s premier status.
The Return on Investment (ROI) from Qualmark COE solutions is proving to be quite substantial.